'Absolutely unacceptable': Philadelphia officials respond to gun violence as homicide rates climb

Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney addressed the city's ongoing issue with gun violence Wednesday afternoon. 

Philadelphia has already seen at least 120 murders this year, many due to gun violence.

Last Friday, 11 year-old Harley Belance was shot in the neck and killed while riding his bike.

Monday, 21 year-old Dominic Billa was shot and killed after a fight at the Philadelphia Mills Mall. And just a few hours later, 55 year-old Anthony Merriett Junior was shot and killed in Strawberry Mansion while working on a documentary on the city's gun violence.

With all of these senseless homicides taking place, city officials spoke out condemning the violence and also presented ideas and projects to help mitigate the violence.

"These are human beings that we're talking about," Commissioner Outlaw reiterated before going into the statistics. 

To date, there have been a total of 491 shooting incidents with 48 of those involving someone under the age of 18.

To date, there have been 120 homicides with 15 of those victims being children. Over last year, the homicide rate is 29%. 

Commissioner Outlaw called it "absolutely unacceptable" when she mentioned the rate in which children in Philadelphia are dying. 

So far, over 700 arrests have been made for those violating the Uniform Firearms Act. 

"Make no mistake, our officers remain dedicated to doing their jobs. They continue to conduct lawful investigations and make meaningful, quality arrests," Commissioner Outlaw assured. "This isn't simply a policing problem. Our entire community needs to work together to turn this around."

Commissioner Outlaw pointed out that many of these violence issues with the young begins on social media and she urged parents to be mindful about what their children are doing on social media. 

The city put forth recommendations for what can be done to raise awareness about the gun violence issue. They laid out a full strategy detailing steps on what they hope to achieve by working on this problem. 

One of the many ways will be participating in National Youth Violence Prevention week. Also, they will launch several campaigns raising awareness about straw purchasing and other issues related to gun violence. 

The city is also working on a summer planning strategy to help secure recreational areas in the city in order to prevent further violence. 



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